DRC: JRS stands with people displaced by volcanic disaster

27 May 2021

Mount Nyirangongo eruption in Goma. (Jesuit Refugee Service)

Jesuit Refugee Service expresses heartfelt condolences to those, including our staff, who have been impacted or displaced by the massive Mount Nyiragongo eruption in the Democratic Republic of Congo this weekend.

The eruption caused significant impact to villages surrounding the mountain. Damage to buildings, homes, and livelihoods continues to be sustained in Goma and beyond as the aftershocks and earthquakes are ongoing. According to UNHCR, thousands are feared to be left homeless from the damage.

After the eruption, JRS programmes in the area have been halted or disrupted, but all JRS team members are safe and accounted for. Currently, our programmes most affected are primary education programmes in Nyirangogo and vocational training for internally displaced people in the sites of Minova and Mugungo.

We hope to return to normal activities, and are currently working with other humanitarian organisations assessing the needs of those we serve, including shelter, hygiene and sanitation, education, mental health and psychosocial support, and reuniting separated families.

Jesse Muzalia Wayyebwa, a member of the JRS team in Goma, who himself experienced significant trauma attempting to flee with his family and JRS team members from lava flows, shared his continued support for the work JRS does.

“I thank God for giving me the chance to be part of the JRS team at this difficult time in my life, I thank JRS for being there by my side and teaching me once again that solidarity and compassion for the most vulnerable is one of the things that keeps hope alive and helps to survive.

Today, we are succeeding in undertaking mechanisms that alleviate the sorrows of all colleagues and their families so that the work with the beneficiaries continues in joy, despite the persistence of the earthquakes and being far from those we love.”

JRS’s commitment remains with those who are displaced people in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and we will continue our efforts to accompany, serve, and advocate on their behalf.